we catch up with Brent Bookwalter at the UAE Tour. He talks to Fred about the transition to Mitchelton-Scott, his motivation to keep racing, and the Australian culture.
The inner voice is a battle. At its best that voice is driven, confident, empowered and audacious, it drives me towards my goals and down a committed path. At its worst it causes me to question if I’m good enough, or whether what I’m doing is actually worth it. That voice can go entirely against things that I am absolutely sure I am capable of, and even who I am as an athlete or a person. It asks me why I am doing this. I’ve learned that while things don’t always make sense, I need to remain committed and see it through. Sometimes it means continuing on with blind faith.
This Vuelta is the last Grand Tour in which we will see the distinctive red and black of the BMC Racing Team. Over 11 years the American team, backed by Swiss billionaire Andy Rihs, helped change the sport, paying big salaries, winning the Tour de France with Cadel Evans, and becoming masters of the art of team time trialling. Rihs died this year and BMC will be taken over by CCC — but it will be a very different team.
Brent Bookwalter is best known as a stalwart athlete for the UCI WorldTour team BMC Racing, as he has stayed with BMC since his start in pro cycling in 2008. Few athletes have had the organizational continuity that Bookwalter has enjoyed during his pro career. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s stayed complacent during his time; anything but. His experience in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tour de France, and a myriad of World Championships prove his mettle as an athlete at the highest level.
It wasn’t until after months of recovery, during his first pro ride in Utah in 2008 and his first year with BMC Racing Team, that Bookwalter felt truly back on track.
“I always enjoy and appreciate when the Tour of Utah has a prologue or a non-uphill time trial,” said American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing Team, who tallied a stage win in 2017 and a Utah Sports Commission Sprint classification jersey in 2015. “By adding in a prologue, it balances out the race a bit and forces the climbers to be in their best form in the race against the clock.”
He was still in shock from the compound fracture to his left tibia, but Brent Bookwalter can remember the emergency surgery he received in Belgium that day.
Well, he thinks it was Belgium; some aspects of the events remain hazy. Physicians gave him a nerve block for his lower half, allowing him to remain awake for the operation.
Three pro riders with very different experiences of head injury discuss the tricky subject of concussion in the peloton. Sports like NFL and Rugby have clear procedures for dealing with athlete head injuries, but Brent Bookwalter, Matt Brammeier and Tom Skujins think cycling could do better, and their colleagues in the peloton need to be more aware. Rouleur's Desire Editor Stuart Clapp talks up Gore's new Shakedry jacket, and David Millar's long awaited film. Presenter: Ian Parkinson.
The race also marks the return of Brent Bookwalter and Kilian Frankiny, both of whom were injured late last season. Bookwalter suffered a head injury in a crash at the Tour of Britain and had to renounce his place in the USA team for Worlds. It was his first experience with a concussion, he said, and his recovery took a bit longer than expected.
You can read the full story here: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/sports/2017/10/25/brent-bookwalter-george-hincapie-ride-wnc-bookwalter-binge-gran-fondo/798525001/
BLACK MOUNTAIN – On this side of the pond, and in this corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo might be the closest we get to rubbing elbows with bicycling greats who grace the Tour de France.
The fourth annual Binge, Oct. 28, brings some of cycling’s heavyweights, including now-retired 17-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie, of Greenville, South Carolina; Michael Sayers, team director of BMC Racing in the Tour and USA National team director during the last two Olympics; and Asheville pros Jonny Clarke with Team UnitedHealthcare and John Murphy with Team Holowesko|Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear.
A slew of others will include Larry Warbasse, reigning U.S. National Road Race champion; Thomas Revard, reigning U23 criterium champion; pro riders Mary Zider and Andrea Smith; with Colavita Admin, Ty Magner and TJ Eisenhart.
And of course, Brent Bookwalter. The Asheville resident, four-time Tour de France veteran with BMC Racing and 2016 Rio Summer Games Olympian will ride in the event he started with his wife, Jamie Bookwalter, also a former professional cyclist.
“It's a relaxed ride, but it’s still studded with racing on timed segments of tough climbs that provide an epic challenge to all,” Jamie Bookwalter said.
The Binge is “a party on two wheels," including three routes that pass through scenic fall foliage on backroads of Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell counties.
All rides start and end at Pisgah Brewing Co. in Black Mountain:
- The Gran: 83 miles with 7,400 feet of climbing
- Medio: 62 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing
- Piccolo: 29 miles with 2,500 feet of climbing
“This is an unusual opportunity to ride alongside female and male pro cyclists as they celebrate the end of their season racing all over the world and the country,” Bookwalter said.
Along with Brent, the pros ride all three routes, mingling with other riders until the timed sections, where brave cycling souls can try to catch them. The ride, however, is open to cyclists of all abilities.
Jamie Bookwalter said the ride has continued to grow each year, and this year registration includes cyclists from 23 states.
UPDATE: TUNE UP IS SOLD OUT For the second year, the Bookwalters will hold the Binge Tune-Up, a more intimate ride led by the couple on the morning of Oct. 27, followed by lunch at the Native Kitchen in Swannanoa. The Tune-Up is sold out, but folks can still join the couple for lunch.
Volunteers are still needed, however, for the Gran Fondo, who will receive a T-shirt, burrito from Mamacitas, and a beer if they are 21 or older.
The Bookwalters both are dedicated to protecting the environment and open spaces. The Binge and the Binge Tune-Up are fundraisers for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, an Asheville nonprofit land trust that works to protect environmentally important lands across Western North Carolina.
“We’re proud of the way the Asheville region has embraced this event, with more than 100 volunteers and more than 12 government agencies working together to make this event safe and fun,” Jamie Bookwalter said.
“Our community welcomes participants and pros from all over the U.S. traveling here to enjoy some of the most beautiful roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Each ride will include marked courses, follow vehicles, aid stations, and timed segments for those who wish to compete against the professionals. The Binge after-party will include food from Mamacita's, a raffle and door prizes.
Want to ride?
For maps, registration and more, visit www.bookwalterbinge.com.